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March 6, 2013

Improving Opioid Prescribing: The New York City Recommendations

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Medicine (Drs Juurlink and Dhalla) and Pediatrics (Dr Juurlink) and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (Drs Juurlink and Dhalla), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Sunnybrook Research Institute (Dr Juurlink) and Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (Dr Dhalla), St Michael's Hospital, Toronto; and Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York (Dr Nelson).

JAMA. 2013;309(9):879-880. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.1139

On January 10, 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced new guidelines for the prescribing of opioid analgesics to patients being discharged from the city's emergency departments. The guidelines were developed by a panel of emergency physicians and are intended to reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths while preserving access to opioids for patients in whom the benefits are expected to exceed the harms. Because most opioids are prescribed by primary care physicians, the introduction of these guidelines alone is unlikely to effect a large decrease in opioid-related harm. Nevertheless, it is worth considering why such guidelines are necessary and what complementary actions physicians, patients, and health authorities should take to address the increasing problem of opioid-related harm.

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